June 11, 2007 04:30:25am
Hi Pat. Hope you had a good weekend too. Why is this week going to suck?
Looks like its been a lively weekend on the forum, so I thought this might be suitable as a start to the new week.
MESSAGE TO GARCIA
by Ken Kesey
Hey, Jerry-- what's happening? I caught your funeral. Weird. Big Steve was good. And Grissman. Sweet sounds. But what really stood out -- stands out -- is the thundering silence, the lack, the absence of that golden Garcia lead line, of that familiar slick lick with the uptwist at the end, that merry snake twining through the woodpile, flickering in and out of the loosely stacked chords...a wriggling mystery, bright and slick as fire... suddenly gone.
And the silence left in its wake was-- is-positively ear-splitting.
Now they want me to say something about that absence, Jer. Tell some backstage story, share some poigniant reminescence. But I have to tell you, man: I find myself considerably disinclined. I mean, why go against the grain of such an eloquent silence?
I remember standing out in the pearly early dawn after the Muir Beach Acid Test, leaning on the top rail of a driftwood fence with you and Lesh and Babbs, watching the world light up, talking about our glorious futures. The gig had been semi-successful and the air was full of exulted fantasies. Babbs whacks Phil on the back. "Just like the big time, huh Phil." "It is! It is the big time! Why, we could cut a chart-busting record to-fucking-morrow!"
I was even more optimistic. "Hey, we taped tonight's show. We could release a record tomorrow. "Yeah right--" (holding up that digitally challenged hand the way you did when you wanted to call attention to the truth or the lack thereof) "--and a year from tomorrow be recording a Things Go Better With Coke commercial."
You could be a sharp-tongued popper-of-balloons shit-head when you were so inclined, you know. A real bastard. You were the sworn enemy of hot air and commercials, however righteous the cause or lucrative the product. Nobody ever heard you use that microphone as a pulpit. No anti-war rants, no hymns to peace. No odes to the trees and All things Organic. No ego-deaths or born-againnesses. No devils denounced no gurus glorified. No dogmatic howlings that I ever caught wind of. In fact, your steadfast denial of dogma was as close as you ever came to having a creed.
And to the very end, Old Timer, you were true to that creed. No commercials. No trendy spins. No bayings of belief. And if you did have any dogma you surely kept it tied up under the back porch where a smelly old hound belongs.
I guess that's what I mean about a loud silence. Like Michaelangelo said about sculpting, "The statue exists inside the block of marble. All you have to do is chip away the stone you don't need." You were always chipping away at the superficial.
It was the false notes you didn't play that kept that lead line so golden pure. It was the words you didn't sing. So this is what we are left with, Jerry: this golden silence. It rings on and on without any hint of let up...on and on. And I expect it will still be ringing years from now.
Because you're still not playing falsely. Because you're still not singing Things Go Better With Coke.
Ever your friend,